After dropping three of four, the Rays headed to Seattle and needed a bounce back game. Instead they drop the first game due to one bad inning, and of course some more missed opportunities. Let’s take a look at how it went down.
B.J. Upton was scratched from the lineup but claims that he shouldn’t miss anymore time. With the lefty Jarrod Washburn throwing, Joe Maddon went with Ben Zobrist in right and he turned in a decent night. Officially Zorilla went 1-4 with a double, but two strikeouts. He did however come oh so close to a game-tying shot in the eighth.
What Went Right:
The Rays had a hot start and finally posted some runs in the first. It would be their only runs of the game though. Good hitting by Evan Longoria and Pat Burrell gave the Rays a temporary lead. Longoria also showed why he should be a Gold Glove favorite this year making two nifty plays on a couple of bunt attempts.
The bullpen performed well as Joe Nelson and Grant Balfour each turned in a scoreless inning. It’s good to see Balfour’s velocity back in the 94-96 range.
What Went Wrong:
This part we are going to leave up to interpretation while also linking to an issue that had been addressed by another Rays blog. Rays Index just had a post about Maddon’s “aggressive” defensive schemes, in which it talked about the recent trend for the outfielders to play more shallow to prevent bloop hits. Now while Kapler was burned on two balls in fourth inning, Andy Sonnanstine hung a curveball on 2-2 to Rob Johnson and left a cutter up to Yuniesky Betancourt. So either Maddon could take the fault for playing Kapler in, or Sonnanstine for not executing his pitches. Either way, this will be an issue that will continue to be closely scrutinized by Rays followers.
Over at DRaysBay, there was a post not too long ago that talked about a trend in which the Rays would surrender, or “give back” runs after scoring innings by the Rays. Such happened in the first when the Rays put two in the top half, and gave one back in the bottom half.
The struggles continue for the offense collectively as the team finished 1-9 with RISP.
Carl Crawford continues to struggle going 0-4 with a strikeout. C.C. is now 3 for his last 22.
Carlos Pena saw his 12-game hit streak come to an end, and added a hat trick to go along with his 0-fer.
The Rays look to snap their three-game skid and will turn to Jeff Niemann (0-2). Niemann had a decent outing last time against the White Sox going six innings and allowed only two runs via a Jermaine Dye homer. The M’s will send out righty Chris Jakubauskas (1-1).